Like any other commodity, electricity prices are driven by demand. When demand goes up, consumers pay more. When it goes down, they pay less. As a result, electricity is cheaper at night and more expensive during the day.
Most consumers are aware that electric companies charge different rates at different times. Billing cycles are typically divided into “peak” and “off-peak” hours. Some also include a third category, “super-off peak”, to encourage savings.
Electricity consumption is generally highest during the afternoon and evening, as people get home from work and school. Families cook, play video games, surf the net, watch TV, and carry out any number of household chores. Electricity consumption goes up significantly, forcing electric companies to activate their full generation capacity.
Power plants that had been idle have to be brought online. At times, demand is so great, that some companies buy electricity from other utilities. In either case, the increased costs are passed along to consumers. However, as people go to sleep, companies take these plants offline and switch over to baseload power, which is why electricity is cheaper at night.
Peak hours differ depending on where you live. However, in most areas prices are highest from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. (peak hours) and lowest from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. (super off-peak). During winter, prices surge from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. as people warm up their homes before going to work. Otherwise, 6 a.m. – 4 p.m is off-peak (sometimes referred to as mid-peak). While weekends typically follow the same pattern, in some cities they’re considered off-peak too. Check with your electric company to find out what the price schedule is in your area.
How to Save Money When Electricity is Cheaper at Night
It’s impossible to avoid consuming electricity during peak hours. Some chores, like cooking, are simply unavoidable. However, more can be put off than you realize. Washing a load of dishes? Drying wet clothes? Charging your iPad? Making cookies for a bake sale tomorrow? Consumers looking for ways to cut their electricity bill should wait as long as possible before switching on a major appliance.
But technology can help save money as well. Installing a smart thermostat lets you control your heating and cooling systems from your smartphone. A smart thermostat not only deactivates automatically when you’re away, but you can also set it up to heat or cool your house before you get home, during off-peak hours. Similar devices can be installed on your water heater, so you can turn off the heating element when prices surge.
How to Save Money with Agway
Because Agway draws electricity from multiple sources, our customers always get the lowest prices available, day or night. But in addition to saving money on their electric bill, Agway also helps them maintain their furnace and air conditioner.
When they sign up, every Agway customer is automatically enrolled in EnergyGuardTM. If something goes wrong, customers call us rather than pay out of pocket. We send out a qualified technician to diagnose and repair their system.
Interested in lower bills and higher savings? Sign up today!